I don’t know how many times I’ve had exactly this conversation about Hawaii with another American.
Other American: “No.”
Me: “It’s paradise.”
Other American: “It’s too far.”
It’s not too far. It could be twice as far and it wouldn’t be too far. It could be in space and it wouldn’t be too far. It’s worth the trip.
It’s worth the trip not just because it’s beautiful – and it is. And not just because it’s a tropical heaven with American currency and infrastructure – although it’s that, too. It’s worth the trip because of the spirit of aloha.
Oh, yes, it’s real.
A few years ago there was a mild earthquake in Hawaii, and I heard a radio interview of a Honolulu police officer. As he briefly described some minor damage, I realized that I wasn’t listening to his words so much as his tone. I was hearing the calm, good-natured lilt of the kama’aina, the island resident. And suddenly I just ached to be in Hawaii.
Honolulu, a city of more than 1 million people, has a relaxed and friendly air unmatched in any American city I’ve ever seen. People simply seem, in general, less tense.
For sure, there are all kinds of people in Hawaii, and no place is immune to rudeness, incivility and crime.
And, for sure, it’s a long and expensive plane trip to get there, particularly from the East Coast I realize that it’s a dream vacation for many Americans who are struggling financially, but it is a dream worth having.
There has been some softening in fares to Hawaii of late, with very restricted tickets going down to around $600 round trip from the Northeast. The period between Thanksgiving and Christmas may yield even lower fares, if fuel prices hold steady and demand continues to drop.
There are also some excellent hotel bargains to be had. Occupancy rates are way down, and hotels are looking to deal. A reader wrote to me lately to say she had just rebooked an earlier hotel reservation on Maui and saved $1,600. On the lower end, I’m seeing decent hotels in Waikiki starting around $70 a night.
So if you can afford it, do it soon. And if you can’t, do it someday.